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Corrections Law for
Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Disability Discrimination: Prisoners
Journal Article: Accommodation of
Wheelchair-Bound Prisoners, 2009 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoners with HIV/AIDS. Part
2, 2014 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Prisoners who had
disabilities making them particularly susceptible to heat and who claimed that
correctional officials failed to reasonably accommodate their disabilities that
impacted their ability to withstand extreme heat sued, asserting claims under
the Eighth Amendment, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the
Rehabilitation Act. A federal appeals court, upholding class certification,
found no error in the trial court's ruling that a facility’s heat mitigation
measures were not effective to bring the risk of serious harm below the
constitutional baseline for the plaintiff prisoners. Class certification was appropriate because the same
acts were the source of injury for all inmates as they were all subjected to
the same lack of air-conditioning, had the same available heat-mitigation
measures, and were all harmed by exposure to excessive heat and they identified
specific injunctive relief of maintaining a heat index of 88 degrees or lower. Yates v. Collier,
#16-20505, 868 F.3d 354 (5th Cir. 2017).
A woman arrested for domestic battery
refused to exit the vehicle transporting her to the jail. She shouted
obscenities, exhibited slurred speech, and was extremely combative. She tested
positive for cocaine and cannabinoids, and later claimed that she had been
experiencing a “post‐traumatic
stress disorder flashback.” Refusing to change into a jail uniform, two female
and three male officers restrained her, placed her on her stomach, held her
arms over her head, and lifted off her shirt. She responded by banging her head
against the floor while shouting, “They’re going to rape me.” The officers
removed her clothing, draped a jail uniform over her body, and left her in a
cell. She then had a seizure and was hospitalized. She sued under 42 U.S.C.
Sec. 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Her lawsuit claimed that
the jail had a “widespread practice” of using excessive force during strip
searches, and failing to reasonably accommodate people experiencing emotional
distress during such searches. Other prisoners joined her lawsuit to challenge
a policy requiring female detainees to wear either white underwear or no
underwear at all. The strip search claims were properly rejected, as there was
insufficient evidence of such a custom or practice. Summary judgment was
inappropriate as to detainees' claim that the jail's policy requiring female
detainees to wear white underwear or no underwear violated the Fourteenth
Amendment because the record did not show the policy was within any
correctional mainstream, irregular enforcement created the potential for abuse,
and the detainees alleged a credible harm to dignity interests. Mulvania v.
Rock Island County Sheriff, #16-1711, 850 F.3d 849 (7th Cir. 2017.
A deaf man
confined as a sexually dangerous person sued the federal Bureau of Prisons for
alleged failure to provide him with needed American Sign Language (ASL)
interpreters for medical appointments and other essential communications, as
well as refusal to provide him with access to a videophone or otherwise
accommodate his disability. A federal appeals court concluded that the evidence
presented by the plaintiff was adequate to satisfy both the objective and
subjective components of deliberate indifference, so that the trial court erred
in granting summary judgment to the defendant on a claim of inadequate medical
care for his disability, and his claim that it was unreasonable to deny him
access to a TTY device. Heyer v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons,
#15-6826, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 3265 (4th Cir.).
An inmate who suffers from cerebral palsy and
scoliosis was mobility impaired and sued correctional authorities for
disability discrimination, seeking the right to use his motorized wheelchair in
the facility where he was incarcerated. A federal appeals court overturned
summary judgment for the defendants, finding that there was a genuine issue of
material fact as to whether the facility's mobility assistance program (which
required advance requests for mobility aid from other prisoners) provided the
inmate with meaningful access to facility services, programs, and activities,
and as to whether allowing him the use of his motorized wheelchair would unduly
burden the prison. The plaintiff argued that the mobility assistance program
failed to account for any unexpected need for immediate assistance. The court
also held that a blanket ban on motorized wheelchairs - without an
individualized inquiry into the risks of allowing a mobility-impaired inmate to
use his or her motorized wheelchair - violates the Americans with Disabilities
Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Wright v. New York State Dep’t of Corr.,
#15-3168, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 13809 (2nd Cir.).
A county sheriff was not entitled to Eleventh
Amendment sovereign immunity from a jail prisoner's claim under Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 2 U.S.C. 12132, prohibiting disability
discrimination in the providing of government services and programs. The
statute unambiguously abrogates such immunity. While incarcerated, the
plaintiff was injured, and the medical staff placed him in a special cell where
he claimed that he enjoyed fewer privileges than other inmates. Black v.
Wigington, #15-10848, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 1057 (11th Cir.).
prisoner had a work assignment as a stockman in food services. Three months
after a work-related injury, he was fired for medical reasons, specifically
damage to his prosthetic leg. He sued prison administrators for disability
discrimination in employment under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA). A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants,
ruling that Title II of the ADA is inapplicable to a claim of employment
discrimination by a prisoner in a prison job. Neisler v. Tuckwell, #15-1804,
807 F.3d 225 (7th Cir. 2015).
Death row inmates at a new prison that has no air
conditioning claimed that the heat they were exposed to during the summer
violated their Eighth Amendment rights because of their pre-existing medical
conditions and disabilities, including hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression,
and high cholesterol. They also claimed that this constituted disability
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
12132, and the Rehabilitation Act (RA), 29 U.S.C. 794. A federal appeals court
upheld a trial court finding of deliberate indifference constituting an Eighth
Amendment violation, as the heat put the plaintiffs at substantial risk of
serious harm, but found that an injunction issued requiring the installation of
air conditioning throughout death row was overbroad under prior precedent and
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. 3626, so that further proceedings
were required. The appeals court upheld the rejection of the disability
discrimination claims, however, as the prisoners failed to present evidence to
prove that they were disabled. Ball v. LeBlanc, #14-30067, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis
11769 (5th Cir.).
Deaf inmates housed in Texas prisons claimed that
state authorities failed to reasonably accommodate their impairment in
violation of the disability discrimination provisions of state law regarding
public facilities. The Texas Supreme Court rejected this claim, holding that
state prisons are not "public facilities" as defined in the statute,
the defendant, the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ) did not act beyond his authority in failing to comply with the
provisions of the law requiring an accommodation of disabilities in public
facilities. Beeman v. Livingston, #13-0867, 2015 Tex. Lexis 618, 58 Tex. Sup.
Ct. J. 1414.
An inmate suffering from a neurological condition
was able to ambulate, stand, and sit with the assistance of crutches and leg
braces. No doctor had ordered a wheelchair for him, or that he be transported
via a wheelchair-accessible van. He arrived for transport to a medical
appointment with neither a wheelchair or a physician's order. A wheelchair
accessible van with a lift was available, but standing on the lift was
forbidden because of the risk of falling. The prisoner claimed that he had to
enter the van by crawling, exposing him to urine and vomit on the floor, that
he was unable to eat while traveling, and that during his return trip the
driver stopped the vehicle near a ridge and said that guards could drown him
and claim he tried to escape. The prisoner further claimed that when he filed a
grievance over these events, prison staff members retaliated against him with
verbal abuse, ransacked his cell, and transported him in a
non-wheelchair-accessible van for part of the trip when he was moved to another
prison. A federal appeals court rejected Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
claims, as well as disability discrimination and retaliation claims. The record
did not support his argument that he had an objectively serious medical need
requiring the use of a wheelchair-accessible van. Even if the van conditions
were unsanitary, he was exposed to them for only approximately six hours on a
single occasion, and the one time single sentence alleged threat by the driver
was insufficient to show a constitutional violation. The prisoner failed to
provide sufficient evidence that the subsequent actions allegedly taken against
him were retaliatory. Turner v. Mull, #14-1589, 784 F.3d 485 (8th Cir. 2015).
An Indiana prisoner who was a paraplegic claimed
that correctional officials failed to adequately accommodate his disability. He
claimed that he was subject to humiliating toileting arrangements, assigned to
a cell that was so small that he had to move his wheelchair when his cellmate
needed to use the toilet, had to travel over sidewalks that resulted in him
tipping out of his wheelchair, that he was excluded from job training,
transported in vehicles not equipped for wheelchairs, and denied access to the
library and weight room. The defendants argued that he had failed to exhaust
available administrative remedies, to which he claimed that such efforts would
have been futile as he was threatened when he filed grievances. The trial court
properly granted summary judgment to the defendants without first holding a
separate hearing on the futility argument. A federal appeals court found no
error, although stating that it would have been preferable to first hold such a
hearing, but that the futility argument could be decided in ruling on summary
judgment. In this case, there were no disputed issues of material fact.
Additionally, the state Department of Corrections and its Commissioner in his
official capacity were not persons for purposes of a Sec. 1983, as claims
against them were claims against the state. The plaintiff failed to exhaust
available administrative remedies on all but two of his disability
discrimination claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act and
Rehabilitation Act--but the longer waits and humiliation he suffered by being
transported in a van not equipped for wheelchairs did not amount to a denial of
service. The failure to repair his wheelchair also did not show disability
discrimination, especially as he was provided with a new wheelchair backrest
before he filed his grievance. Wagoner v. Ind. Dep't of Corrections, #13-3839,
2015 U.S. App. Lexis 1783 (7th Cir.).
In a class action lawsuit by disabled state
prisoners and parolees, the state of California challenged a 2012 order
modifying an earlier injunction, ordering the state to take specified actions
to make sure that disabled inmates were given needed accommodations. The
appeals court rejected arguments that the injunction was issued without giving
it adequate notice of opportunity to respond. While a state statute had altered
the balance of power between the state and its counties somewhat, it did not
absolve the state of all of its disability discrimination obligations as to
disabled parolees placed in county jails to serve state-imposed sentences. The
modified injunction also did not violate the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18
U.S.C. Sec. 3626. Armstrong v. Brown, #12-17103, 732 F.3d 955 (9th Cir. 2014).
Massachusetts state prisoner suffering from HIV
challenged a change in medication practices. While previously, they had been provided
with a monthly or bimonthly supply of their prescribed HIV medications, the
state Department of Corrections decided to only dispense such medication in
single doses. The prisoners claimed that this violated their Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as constituting disability discrimination
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Upholding summary judgment for
the Department, the federal appeals court ruled that the change did not violate
these constitutional or statutory rights. Nunes v. Mass. Depart. of
Corrections, #13-2346, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 17647 (1st Cir.).
A prisoner started experiencing blackouts,
weakness and difficulty walking. Despite his written medical requests, he
asserts, he was not properly examined for six months. Before he was eventually
diagnosed with pernicious anemia, the defendants allegedly failed to use
medication to slow the disease. He was paralyzed from the waist down and his
condition continued to deteriorate. He complained that he was denied assignment
to the Transitional Care Unit, and that he was placed in administrative
segregation without a wheelchair or handicap access, forcing him to crawl and
to eat meals on the floor. He was also denied someone to push his wheelchair, a
handicapped-accessible cell, medically prescribed physical therapy,
preventative treatment, examination by an outside specialist, wheelchair
accessories, and exemption from activities requiring exposure to cold. He
claimed that lack of accommodations caused him to miss meals, fall several
times in his cell, be placed on strip-cell status, and be unable to move around
his cell without hitting the toilet or walls.
Individual capacity disability discrimination
claims against two prison officials were dismissed because they could not be
sued in their individual capacities under either the Americans with
Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act. Claims against doctors and a
correctional medical service, as they related to medical treatment, could not
form the basis of disability discrimination claims under either statute. Claims
for injunctive relief, however, could continue, as could damage claims against
the state and the correctional department, as some of the alleged conduct could
have violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Dinkins v. Correctional
Medical Services, #12-2127, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 3454 (8th Cir.).
The daughters of a deceased prisoner appealed
summary judgment granted to jail officers who allegedly refused to provide him
with batteries for his hearing aids, rendering them useless, and preventing him
from hearing. They claimed that this constituted deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA). The appeals court ruled that the officers did not have fair warning that
their alleged actions were unlawful, entitling them to qualified immunity.
Gilmore. v. Hodges, #11-12674, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 25326 (11th Cir.).
A former Arizona state
prisoner with a disability stemming from a prior ankle injury claimed that a
private company for which he picked tomatoes as part of a convict labor force
failed to reasonably accommodate his disability. The lawsuit was properly
dismissed, as the relationship was not one of employment for purposes of
federal disability discrimination statutes. Additionally, the defendant company
did not receive federal funds. Summary judgment for state defendants was
improperly granted, however, as they could be liable for any disability
discrimination committed by the contractor. Castle v. Eurofresh, Inc.,
#11-17947, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 19521 (9th Cir.).
Disabled California state prisoners and parolees
sued the state seeking an injunction requiring more accommodations of various
disabilities. The trial court issued a series of orders requiring the state to
implement a previously negotiated County Jail Plan for disabled prisoners and
parolees. A federal appeals court rejected the state's argument that these
orders conflicted with recent amendments to the state penal code designed to
alleviate overcrowding in state prisons or required more of the defendants than
was needed to assist in remedying disability discrimination violations for
which they had responsibilities. Armstrong v. Brown, #12-16018, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis
20323 (9th Cir.).
A settlement of a lawsuit ending the segregation
of HIV-positive prisoners in Alabama correctional facilities has been approved
by a federal trial court. Female prisoners who are HIV-positive are now
integrated into the general prison population and the same will be true of male
positive prisoners in 2014. $1.3 million in legal fees and costs was also
awarded to be paid by the state. The prior segregation policy was found to
violate federal disability discrimination statutes. The ruling leaves South
Carolina as the only state still segregating HIV positive prisoners. Henderson
v. Thomas, #2:11cv224, 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 140098 (M.D. Ala.).
A paraplegic prisoner confined to a wheelchair
sued, asserting claims for 14 alleged incidents of excessive force against him,
denial of needed medical treatment, and the confiscation of his wheelchair,
which was then replaced with one that lacked needed leg rests. He claimed that,
with the supplied wheelchair, he was unable to shower or brush his teeth and
sometimes was left lying in his own excrement for day. A federal appeals court
upheld the dismissal of most of these claims for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies by filing and pursuing grievances, as required by the
Prison Litigation Reform Act. The trial judge was entitled to make a factual
determination without the participation of a jury that the plaintiff was aware
of the prison's grievance procedure and was able to access it. The appeals
court found, however, that the prisoner did adequately exhaust administrative
remedies as to two specific incidents. While he did not appeal his grievances
concerning those two incidents, no appeal was available because no actual
decision on the grievances concerning those incidents was received. Small v. Whittick, #11-2378, 2013 U.S. App.
Lexis 17739 (3rd Cir.).
A wheelchair-bound inmate may not be able to
pursue an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disability discrimination claim
over a denial of outdoor recreation for seven weeks on the basis that not
enough disabled prisoners (at least nine) requested it, since state officials
may be immune from liability under the ADA. His claims did, however, state a
viable claim under the Rehabilitation Act, since the prison was a recipient of
federal funding, and outdoor recreation constituted a "program or
activity" under the Act, which he could not be denied participation in on
the basis of disability. Norfleet v. Walker, #11-2137, 684 F.3d 688
(7th Cir. 2012).
An Illinois prisoner with hip problems, including
necrosis, asserted viable disability discrimination claims under the Americans
with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act based on his alleged
disqualification from a work-release program (because he walked with a cane)
and the lack of grab bars in the prison, which he claimed made it difficult for
him to use the toilet and shower, to attend meals, or to work in the prison
library on the same basis as other prisoners. While these problems did not
violate the Eighth Amendment since he did manage to do many of these things,
even if with difficulty, the failure to reasonably accommodate his disability
could be unlawful discrimination. Limiting him to weekly showers was not an
Eighth Amendment violation. Jaros v. Illinois Department of Corrections,
#11-2567, 684 F.3d 667 (7th Cir. 2012).
A prisoner serving a one year sentence was denied
a course of treatment for Hepatitis C because his sentence was not long enough
to provide for proper evaluation and treatment. When he was convicted again and
returned to prison, he was denied treatment again based on his past drug abuse
under a requirement that he successfully complete a substance abuse program
first. His assertion that the true reason he was denied treatment was financial
stated a possible Eighth Amendment claim. He could also proceed with his
disability discrimination claim on the basis that his drug addiction could be
regarded as a disability. The trial court's conclusion that a defendant doctor
was entitled to qualified immunity was improperly conclusory. Hilton v. Wright,
#10–135, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 5012 (2nd Cir.).
Prisoner failed to prove that he was disabled in
terms of his conditions of Hepatitis C, back pain, and psychiatric conditions
affecting his ability to perform major life activities. He therefore could not
continue to pursue his claim that he was barred from participation in prison
work and education programs on the basis of disability discrimination. Hale v.
King, #07-60997, 642 F.3d 492 (5th Cir. 2011)
The existence of a consent decree containing a
remedial plan for alleged disability discrimination against Colorado prisoners
did not bar individual prisoners from pursuing damage claims for violations
related to their covered disabilities, or from appealing the denial of their
damage claims. The consent decree itself established a mechanism for individual
prisoners to assert claims for damages. In this case, the individual prisoner
failed to show that he suffered from a covered disability. Montez v. Hickenlooper,
#08-1399, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 9543 (10th Cir.)
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. Secs. 12131-12165, a federal appeals court ruled, does not
validly abrogate state sovereign immunity in a lawsuit brought by disabled
inmates who claimed that they were denied access to prison educational and work
programs on the basis of their disabilities. The lawsuit was filed against
Mississippi state prison officials in their official capacities. The court
reasoned that in authorizing such claims, Congress exceeded its authority to
the extent that they are not “congruent and proportional” to the enforcement of
the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The parties in the case
agreed that none of the defendants' conduct arguably violated the Fourteenth
Amendment. Hale v. King, #07-60997, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21463 (5th
A prisoner suffering from bipolar disorder hung
himself to death in his cell in a Texas prison. His mother sued, claiming that
prison authorities had been deliberately indifferent to her son's condition, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. She also asserted a disability
discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She
argued that he had been denied treatment for his condition, that he was denied
medication or it was confiscated, causing manic episodes, and that he was
sometimes denied Lamictal, fish oil supplements, and vitamin E, which had been
effective in treating his bipolar disorder, and instead provided with ineffective
medications with extreme side effects. She also contended that prison employees
missed clear signs that his mental health was deteriorating and that he was a
suicide risk.At the time of his death, he was being housed in isolation, which
was allegedly a violation of the standards issued by National Commission on
Correctional Health Care ("NCCHC"), which direct that suicidal
prisoners not be housed in isolation, unless under constant supervision. He was
allegedly not closely monitored, and his mother argued that log entries showing
the contrary had been fabricated. The federal appeals court upheld a
determination that the lawsuit's federal civil rights clams against the state
Department of Criminal Justice and prison officials in their official capacity
were barred by sovereign immunity, while all other federal civil rights and ADA
claims were time-barred as they involved conduct that had occurred over two
years ago. Brockman v. Tex. Dept. of Criminal Justice, #09-40940, 2010 U.S.
App. Lexis 20349 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
California state officials with authority over
the corrections system and parole proceedings were properly ordered to track
and accommodate the needs of state prisoners and parolees housed in county
jails who had disabilities in order to see that their disabilities were
properly accommodated as required by federal disability discrimination
statutes. The trial court satisfactorily made findings required under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act concerning the need for relief for the problems claimed
in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of disabled prisoners. The appeals
court rejected arguments by the state officials that they had no
responsibilities for ensuring that state prisoners or parolees in county jails
receive reasonable accommodation for their disabilities, pointing to
regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(1), that specify that an entity cannot avoid
its obligations regarding the accommodation of disabilities by operating
"through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements” with third
parties. Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, #09-17144, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18687
A Pennsylvania prisoner filed two lawsuits
against a prison medical director. When a deposition was scheduled in the case,
due to disabilities that the prisoner suffered (diabetes and phlebitis), he
requested that another prisoner be present to assist him in taking notes. The
attorney for the medical director, however, refused to be in a room with two
inmates present, and therefore ended the deposition early. The court rejected a
claim that the Department of Corrections had violated the plaintiff inmate's
rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), since it had been
willing to supply him with the requested inmate assistant, and it was only the
attorney's objections that ended the deposition. The inmate could not assert
ADA claims against the attorney or medical director, as the ADA does not apply
to individuals. Watson v. Pa. Dept. of Corrections, #1475 C.D. 2009, 2010 Pa.
Commw. Lexis 113.
A Florida prisoner in a prison operated by a
private prison management company under contract sued three employees of the
company in their official capacities, seeking injunctive relief and damages for
disability discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, which prohibits a "public entity" from
discriminating against qualified persons because of their disabilities.
Upholding summary judgment for the defendants, a federal appeals court held
that the private corporation was not a public entity merely on the basis that
it entered into a contract with a public entity to provide services. An
"instrumentality of the state" is a government unit or a unit created
by a government unit. Edison v. Douberly, #08-15819, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 8961
Upholding a trial court's appointment of a
receiver in a class action lawsuit claiming widespread deficiencies in prison
medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal appeals court ruled that the Prison
Litigation Reform Act did not eliminate the trial court's jurisdiction to
appoint a receiver in prison conditions litigation, and that, in this case, the
trial court properly found that the appointment of such a receiver was the
"least intrusive means" of remedying the problem. Plata v.
Schwarzenegger, #09-15864, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 8969 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner suffering from deteriorating eyesight
claimed that a prison nurse failed to protect him against being more likely to
be preyed on by other prisoners, including because of his inability to see to
use his combination locks, leaving his property unprotected as a result. The
court found that the nurse's denial of his request for a single room was based
on her understanding of prison policies, rather than deliberate indifference to
his serious medical needs. The prisoner could go forward, however, with his
equal protection and disability discrimination claims, based on his assertion
that he was not provided with equal treatment to other disabled inmates, and
the nurse's failure to point to facts rationally supporting her decision to
deny him a single room. Mingus v. Butler, #08-2286, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 78
A prisoner claimed that he was subjected to
disability discrimination because he was not provided with reasonable
accommodations, including a cane. His claim was rejected, however, as he failed
to show that he had a disability within the meaning of applicable federal
statutes. Ali v. Howard, #09-1654, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25162 (Unpub. 3rd
Wheelchair-dependant inmates claimed that
conditions at a facility resulted in them soiling themselves several times a
week because the restrooms available were not wheelchair accessible. The
frequency with which this occurred was frequent enough that an Eighth Amendment
claim survived summary judgment. Other claims concerning the height of a food
service counter, the absence of an accessible water fountain, potholes and
broken cement in recreation yards, and the alleged inaccessibility of
telephones and the law library, however, did not assert valid Eighth Amendment
claims as they did not deprive the prisoners of the "minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities" or present an unreasonable risk of serious
damage to their health. In the absence of a showing of discriminatory intent,
the prisoners could not recover damages under the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA). Shariff v. Coombe, #96-Civ-3001, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 69119 (S.D.N.Y.).
A prisoner's claim that he was denied a
reasonable accommodation for his hearing loss in violation of his rights under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., was
properly dismissed since the evidence of objective hearing tests indicated that
the prisoner was faking a hearing loss and actually needed no accommodation.
Smith v. Masterson, #08-2832, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 25042 (Unpub. 2nd Cir.).
California state prisoners sought an order
requiring state correctional officials and other state officials to track and
accommodate the needs of class action members with disabilities housed in
county jails. The court granted the order. State responsibilities under federal
disability discrimination statutes to provide access to facilities and programs
could not be avoided by entering into contracts with county jails to house
state prisoners. Armstrong v. Schwarzenegger, #C 94-2307, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis
91494 (N.D. Cal.).
A prisoner who suffered from a blood clot in his left
eye failed to assert a viable disability discrimination claim since the record
showed that he was provided with meaningful access to prison programs and
facilities. The prisoner also failed to show that the manager of a prison
housing unit acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
Indeed, there was no admissible evidence even showing that the defendant was
aware of his blood clot. Mason v. Correctional Medical Services, Inc.,
#.07-2814, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 6068 (8th Cir.).
The "continuing violation" doctrine applies
to Eighth Amendment claims of medical indifference brought under 42 U.S.C. Sec.
1983 when a prisoner shows an ongoing policy of deliberate indifference to his
or her serious medical needs and "some acts in furtherance of the policy
within the relevant statute of limitations period." Further
proceedings were required to consider whether that doctrine also applied to the
prisoner's federal disability discrimination claims. The case involves a
prisoner suffering from right arm paralysis and limited use of his left arm. He
claimed that, despite recommendations from a number of doctors, he was not
provided with assistance with "activities of daily living, transferred to
specialized infirmary housing, or provided with needed treatments." Shomo
v. City of New York, #07-1208, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 18001 (2nd Cir.).
A prisoner failed to show that he had been
subjected to disability discrimination and violations of his First, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights because he has AIDS. While he claimed that his
family was denied a contact visit because of his medical condition, that
"disparaging" remarks were made about his condition, and that he was
otherwise subjected to prejudice, discrimination, and retaliation, he failed to
allege sufficient specifics, as opposed to "theories and conclusions"
to enable a court to find actionable discrimination. Lopez v. Beard, #08-3699,
2009 U.S. App. Lexis 13403 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
Proof that an inmate had a "raspy"
voice was insufficient to show that he had a disability for purposes of a
disability discrimination claim. While his "raspy" voice could impact
the volume of his speech, there was no indication that he was unable to
articulate his words, to communicate with others, or to make himself
understood. The court also rejected his claim that prison employees were
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. The defendants attempted
to accommodate his need to avoid environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), and the
prisoner failed to show any intentional refusal to address the issue. Pritchett
v. Ellers, #08-1669, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 9381 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A prisoner's allegation that correctional
officials knowingly refused to provide treatment or to investigate his request
for treatment, specifically ophthalmic evaluation and cataract surgery, failed
to establish a claim for disability discrimination. His argument that an
allegedly resulting disability was the loss of vision in his right eye did not
show that the defendants denied him care on the basis of a disability. The
prisoner also failed to show that the defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, or that they acted merely in order
to save the cost of treatment, as opposed to acting on a medical finding
concerning the stability of his eye condition. Stevenson v. Pramstaller,
#07-cv-14040, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25495 (E.D. Mich.).
Wheelchair-bound paraplegic prisoner failed to
show that he was excluded from participation in the correctional department's
"medical services" program because of his disability. The prisoner
claimed that he received a "defective assistive device," a
pressurized mattress that was five inches wider than his bed frame, causing him
to fall and be injured while transferring to his wheelchair. This did not show
discriminatory intent, as required for liability under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, but, at most, negligence, which was insufficient for an ADA
claim. Additionally, the ADA claim could only be brought against the agency,
and not against individual officers. Ellis v. Hager, #C07-00665, 2009 U.S.
Dist. Lexis 14835 (N.D. Ca.).
While a prisoner claimed that he had been
subjected to exclusion from good-time programs, including work programs, on the
basis of disability discrimination, the record showed that the actual reason
was that he was the subject of over 30 incident reports involving disciplinary
infractions, fights with other prisoners, and harassment of prison staff
members. A number of the incidents resulted in his placement in segregation,
and he also, at times, was given access to a number of programs, but failed to
complete them due to disciplinary problems or unsatisfactory performance. The
prisoner also, at times, failed to attend medical appointments, or threatened
staff members at them. Kogut v. Ashe, #08-30124, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 20232
Prisoner presented genuine issues as to whether
prison officials' alleged denial of crutches or a wheelchair, or of a handicap
accessible shower, prevented him from taking a shower or participating in
recreation for over two months, and whether crutches or a wheelchair were
medically needed to ease his pain, prevent further damage, and shower. His
claims for violations of disability discrimination statutes, however, were
correctly rejected. Brown v. Lamanna, No. 08-6840, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 26501
While a county jail inmate may not have a
constitutional due process right to earn good-time credits, he could not be
barred on the basis of disability, as he alleged, from correctional work
programs that could earn such credits and reduce the length of his sentence.
The prisoner stated a possibly viable claim for habeas relief under Title II of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Kogut v. Ashe, Civil Action No.
08-30124, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 106114 (D. Mass.).
Michigan state prison was not required, under
state or federal law, to provide special education services to mentally ill and
disabled inmates under the age of 27. Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service,
Inc. v. Caruso, Case No. 5:05-CV-128, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 80089 (W.D. Mich.).
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does
not waive the sovereign immunity of the U.S. government, so that a prisoner who
is unable to speak or hear could not pursue ADA claims against the federal
government or its employees. The prisoner also failed to exhaust available
administrative remedies on his claim that he faced retaliation for his
grievances concerning the inability of the prison phone system to provide
Spanish translations, so that claim was also dismissed. Fellove v. Heady, Civil
Action No. 3:05CV34, 208 U.S. Dist. Lexis 67586 (N.D.W.V.).
The failure of the Savannah, Tenn. police to provide
sign language interpreters for deaf arrestees, in the absence of intentional
discrimination or claimed invalidity of the arrests, did not violate Title II
of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits disability
discrimination in the providing of a governmental "service, program, or
activity." The ADA does not explicitly list arrests as within the
definition of "service, program, or activity." Even if it is an
activity, this does not, by itself, indicate that an interpreter was required.
A plaintiff asserting such a claim must show that police failed to reasonably
accommodate their disabilities in a manner that provided them with access to
communications as effective as that made available to persons without
disabilities, or that they were intentionally discriminated against. In the
immediate case, there was no indication that providing a sign language
interpreter would have resulted in a change of events. Tucker v. State of
Tennessee, #06-6208, 539 F.3d 526, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 18618 (6th Cir.),
citing Rosen v. Montgomery Co., #96-1833, 121 F.3d 154, at 157-158 (4th Cir.
1997) and Bircoll v. Miami-Dade Co., #06-11098, 480 F.3d 1072 (11th Cir. 2007).
Prisoner classified by Social Security as
suffering from mental disorders failed to show that alleged delays in medical
care for a leg injury was disability discrimination by correctional
authorities. The Texas correctional authority was not responsible for his
medical care, as independent contractors provided it. The prisoner also failed
to show that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice failed to adequately
maintain a basketball court where he may have suffered his leg injury, for the
purpose of discriminating against disabled inmates, or that he was retaliated
against by forcing him to use traffic paths that were difficult to use with
crutches. Norman v. Tex. Dept. of Criminal Justice, No. 07-41090, 2008 U.S.
App. Lexis 19914 (Unpub. 5th Cir.).
A quadriplegic inmate confined to a wheelchair
may have filed at least thirty prior frivolous cases against correctional
officials but an injunction against him filing future lawsuits was overbroad in
that it went beyond barring duplicative lawsuits concerning his conditions of
confinement and did not uphold his right of access to the courts. His disability
discrimination claim being asserted was at least arguable, when the prisoner
had been moved in and out of various correctional facilities, so that his claim
that he was not provided with adequate accommodation for his physical
limitation and medical problems, that he was placed in a cell too small for his
wheelchair to move, and that he was not provided with accessible toilets and
catheters might be true of different locations. The dismissal of his lawsuit
was therefore reversed. Miller v. Donald, No. 06-10536, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis
18611 (11th Cir.).
Although a prisoner showed that one of his legs
was shorter than the other, he failed to show that leg or knee problems
interfered with his ability to perform major life activities, as required to
constitute a disability for purposes of a disability discrimination claim.
Claims for substandard medical care must be pursued under the Eighth Amendment,
rather than under the federal disability discrimination statutes. Montez v.
Owens, No. 92-N-870, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 62815 (D. Co.).
Federal appeals court upheld, in part, the
dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that prison officials engaged in disability
discrimination by holding a disciplinary hearing without providing a sign
language interpreter. Claims, which, if successful, would imply the invalidity
of the disciplinary conviction that caused a loss of good-time credits could
not be pursued when the prisoner failed to show that the conviction had already
been overturned. The prisoner could, however, on remand, pursue claims that
concerned the conditions of his confinement and were independent of a challenge
to his disciplinary conviction. Fresquez v. Moeroyk, No. 06-17273, 2008 U.S.
App. Lexis 16772 (9th Cir.).
The state of Pennsylvania was not entitled to
Eleventh Amendment immunity against claims asserted by a deaf mother and her
deaf son contending that their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794,
were violated by the failure to provide them with a qualified sign language
interpreter during their arrest or while they were incarcerated at a county
prison. Congress abrogated any such immunity that the state might have in
connection with these claims. Gonzales v. Pennsylvania, No. 07-2901, 2008 U.S.
App. Lexis 13514 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
When a prisoner's disability and its impact on
his mobility were "obvious," any requirement that he provide
correctional officials with "notice" of his disability was satisfied.
The prisoner claimed both that he needed a cell with handicap accessibility
features, and housing on a lower tier, and that the defendants failed to
provide him with prescribed medications in a consistent manner. The court ruled
that the prisoner, to show liability, did not have to prove that the state
Department of Corrections engaged in intentional discrimination on the basis of
his disability, but recovery of non-economic damages would depend on such a
showing. Kiman v. N.H. Dept. of Correction, Civil No. 01-cv-134, 2008 U.S.
Dist. Lexis 23456 (D.N.H.).
Prisoner with AIDS adequately alleged that
the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by
delaying him from seeing a doctor for months, not permitting him to take his
AIDS medications because of his housing assignment, and failing to provide him
with medical attention on an occasion that he passed blood, as well as denying
him adequate food, which affected his health. The prisoner failed, however, to
establish a viable claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, since the
mere fact that he had AIDS was inadequate standing alone, to show that he had a
disability. Carter v. Taylor, Civ. No. 06-561, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25158 (D.
While a county is not required to make all
existing correctional facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities,
it is required to provide access to programs for such individuals. Therefore,
disabled prisoners should have similar access to that provided to other
prisoners to any type of educational, vocational, rehabilitative, or
recreational program, service, or activity offered, provided that the disabled
prisoners, with or without reasonable accommodation of their disabilities,
would otherwise meet the eligibility requirements to participate. In this case,
the county failed to provide a justification for differences between
recreational and vocational activities available at other facilities, and those
available to detainees at its central jail, including disabled detainees. Further
fact finding was therefore needed to determine the appropriate remedy in
response to disability discrimination. The county was in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) both because of the differing programs
and services available to disabled versus non-disabled prisoners, and because
there were some physical barriers preventing the disabled from gaining access
to certain facilities. The court also continued in force prior orders requiring
that prisoners in administrative segregation be provided at least minimal
access to both exercise and religious services. Pierce v. County of Orange, No.
05-55829, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 6148 (9th Cir.).
Sex offender's objection to the application of a
mental health category to him without "due process of law" rejected,
as no violation of any constitutionally protected liberty interest was
involved, since the categorization did not concern a hospital placement.
Classification as a sexual offender was justified by his past convictions of
three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Disability discrimination claims under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12131 et seq., and
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794 were rejected because the
definition of "disability" in those statutes specifically excludes
"sexual behavior disorders." Rice v. Mich. Dept. of Corrections, No.
1:07-CV-578, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 83792 (W.D. Mich).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42
U.S.C. Secs. 12131-12165, does not provide for claims against government
employees in their individual capacities. The defendant employees were
therefore entitled to qualified immunity on the individual capacity claims a
prisoner asserted against them under the ADA. Doyle v. Jones, No. 1:06-CV-628,
2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 84570 (W.D. Mich.).
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to the federal government,
so that a prisoner could not pursue an ADA disability discrimination claim
against the federal Bureau of Prisons for the alleged wrongful refusal to
classify him as medically unable to work. The prisoner's claim concerning
alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs showed, at most, a
disagreement with the medical treatment provided or an incorrect diagnosis of
his condition by prisoner personnel, both of which would be inadequate to
demonstrate a violation of his constitutional rights. The prisoner allegedly
suffered from an inner ear disorder (Meniere's disease), and had also requested
to be seen by an orthopedic specialist for problems with his neck, back, left
hip, knee and ankle. .Marlin v. Alexandre, No. 06-30838, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis
26534 (5th Cir.).
A prisoner with a hearing impairment could not
recover damages for any alleged emotional injury he suffered from the failure
of a Nebraska prison to provide him with visual alarms and assistive
communication devices in the segregation unit he was housed in, because he did
not assert any claim for physical injuries are required by 42 U.S.C. Sec.
1997e(e). His claims for damages against the State of Nebraska for disability
discrimination were further barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The prisoner
could, however, amend his complaint to seek injunctive or other equitable
relief. If he did not do so, his lawsuit would be dismissed. Stainbrook v.
Houston, No. 4:07CV3196, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81195 (D. Neb.).
Federal appeals court rejects a claim by
17-year-old public school student convicted and incarcerated in Maryland who
alleged that the District of Columbia violated an agreement to provide him with
special education services in the Maryland prison, pursuant to the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1412(a). The Maryland prison
allegedly did not allow access to the prisoner for the purposes of providing
those services, and the appeals court found that the trial court acted
erroneously in ruling that the agreement provided that the District would
provide those promised special education services after the prisoner's release
from custody if access to the Maryland prison could not be obtained. Maryland,
instead, provided the plaintiff with its own special education services, and
the plaintiff sought compensatory services from D.C. to make up for the time he
spent in the Maryland prison without services from D.C., even though he
received such services in prison from Maryland. The appeals court, overturning
a decision by the trial court, ruled that the now released prisoner was not
entitled to additional special education services from D.C. Hester v. DC, No.
06-7102, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 24415 (D.C. Cir.).
Prisoners seeking to assert claims under the
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act for alleged
disability discrimination by prison officials (failure to accommodate and treat
his mental illness) are required by The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to
exhaust available administrative remedies before proceeding with a
lawsuit. In this case, the prisoner failed to exhaust such remedies
before filing his lawsuit, which must, therefore, be dismissed. The court also
noted, however, that because the prisoner had, in the meantime, proceeded to
exhaust those administrative remedies, he could now file a new lawsuit based on
his claims if he wanted. O'Guinn v. Lovelock Corr. Ctr., No. 06-15972 2007 U.S.
App. Lexis 21170 (9th Cir.).
In a lawsuit over the death of an allegedly
mentally ill pretrial detainee while in custody in a county jail, the plaintiff
failed to show that the decedent had been discriminated against because of his
alleged disability of mental illness or that there had been deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. There was also no proof of an
official policy or custom of depriving mentally ill detainees of needed medical
treatment. The cause of the detainee's death was a previously undiagnosed
physical ailment of "peritonitis due to a perforated ulcer,"
and the prisoner's mental illness may have rendered meaningful communication
with the medical personnel who treated him "almost impossible." In
the absence of accurate information from the patient, the medical personnel
were denied information that might have aided in their ability to timely
diagnose the perforated ulcer. Winters v. Arkansas Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., No. 06-2787 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 15486. (8th Cir.).
Deaf prisoner with a limited ability to read and
write English, who was also indigent, was unable to represent himself on his
disability discrimination claims and should be provided with an appointed
lawyer. The court, on its own motion, entered an order for the appointment of a
lawyer, despite the prior denial of the prisoner's motion seeking one, finding
that it was unfair and unrealistic to expect that the prisoner could have
expressed in his written motion the legal factors or arguments required to show
the need for an appointed lawyer. Williams v. Hayman, No. 06-3705, 2007 U.S.
Dist. Lexis 41890 (D.N.J.).
In a lawsuit arising out of the death of a county
inmate who hung himself, the plaintiff failed to show that the actions of
county employees violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
Sec. 12101 et seq., since there was no showing that the decedent had been
denied access to programs or services because of a disability. Claims for
alleged medical malpractice under state law, and that the county had policies,
practices, and procedures depriving the decedent of his Eighth Amendment
rights, however, were viable on the basis of disputed facts concerning his
treatment. Herman v. County of York, No. 1:05-CV-2501, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis
28824 (M.D. Pa.).
Hearing impaired inmate did not show that his
right to exercise his religion had been substantially burdened by prison
regulations under which he was only allowed to possess ten audio cassettes of
tape recorded church services, and permitted him to exchange two old tapes for
two new ones when new ones were sent to him. Court also rejects his argument
that he was subjected to disability discrimination by being denied possession
of bi-aural headphones to enable him to watch his television, since he had no
constitutional right to watch television. Sanders v. Ryan, No. CV 03-0523, 2007
U.S. Dist. Lexis 29070 (D. Ariz.).
Paraplegic prisoner failed to show that he was
subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because prison officials failed to
provide him with an appropriate shower chair and shoes. The record showed that
he was, in fact, provided with a shower chair, but not the specific type he
argued was appropriate. The court also rejected the argument that the prisoner
had been forced to use his wheelchair in the prison shower, finding that he had
chosen to do so because of his belief that it was safer than the chair provided
by the prison. Further, when he fell out of the chair once, that only resulted
in minor scratches, which was insufficient to violate his rights. Foreman v.
Bureau of Prisons, No. 06-1274, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 879 (3rd Cir.). [N/R]
Blind prisoner had no constitutional right to be
placed in a cell with his son, who was also imprisoned on criminal charges
arising from the same incident, despite his argument that he was dependent on
his son for assistance. Quick v. Mann, No. 05-7102, 170 Fed. Appx. 588 (10th Cir.
Detainee in county jail presented a viable equal
protection claim by alleging that the jail had a policy and practice of
discrimination and that an officer there discriminated against him in his
conditions of confinement because of his mental illness of bi-polar disorder.
Glisson v. Sangamon County Sheriff's Department, No. 05-3250, 408 F. Supp. 2d
609 (C.D. Ill. 2006). [N/R]
Mother of youthful incarcerated son with alleged
disabilities, including emotional problems, and auditory and visual
hallucinations, as well as other mental health concerns, could not pursue
claims for money damages under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA), 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq. regarding educational services required to
be provided to him, when she failed to show that she provided any educational
expenses for her son. Court also rules that neither the Alabama Department of
Youth Services (ADYS) nor its employees could be held liable for allegedly not
providing the juvenile with services to which he was allegedly entitled under
the Americans with Disabilities Ac (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12112(a), as the
Department and the individual defendants sued in their official capacities were
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, and the individuals could not be sued
in their individual capacities under ADA. McReynolds v. Alabama Department of
Youth Services, No. 2:04-CV-850, 426 F. Supp. 2d 1247 (M.D. Ala. 2006). [N/R]
Court rejects deaf inmate's claim that he was
subject to disability discrimination in violation of federal statutes and a
consent decree because prison officials provided him with unqualified sign
language interpreters. The consent decree allowed the use of inmate
interpreters, and that is what the prisoner was provided with for educational
and vocational programming offered. Additionally, the facility had staff
interpreters who were available for both disciplinary hearings and medical
appointments. The court found that the occasional use of inmate interpreters in
emergency medical circumstances did not put the prisoner's safety or security
at risk. DuQuin v. Dean, No. 99 Civ. 12458, 423 F. Supp. 2d 411 (S.D.N.Y.
Former prisoner suffering from Lou Gehrig's
Disease presented sufficient evidence to create genuine issues as to whether
prison officials engaged in disability discrimination against him by failing to
adequately accommodate his needs. Claimed problems with his medical treatment,
however, did not rise to the level of disability discrimination. Kiman v. New
Hampshire Dep't of Corr., No. 05-1998, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16189 (1st Cir.).
[2006 JB Aug]
Update: federal appeals court, in light of recent
Supreme Court decision allowing states and state agencies to be sued for
damages for disability discrimination also violating constitutional rights,
orders further proceedings on paraplegic inmate's disability discrimination
damage claims. Miller v. King, No. 02-13348, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 12109 (11th
Cir.). [2006 JB Jul]
U.S. Supreme Court rules that states and state
agencies can be sued for damages for disability discrimination under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the extent that a disabled prisoner
asserts a claim for conduct that actually violates constitutional rights under
the 14th Amendment. U.S. v. Georgia, No. 04-1203, 04-1236 126 S. Ct. 877
(2006). [2006 JB Mar]
State correctional official sued in her official
capacity was immune under the Eleventh Amendment from claims for money damages
for alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
Sec. 12132, but the State of Michigan waived any Eleventh Amendment immunity
from disability discrimination damage claims under the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794, when it accepted federal funds for its corrections
department. Deaf inmate stated a possible claim for disability discrimination
by alleging that he was denied access to a device which would let him
communicate by telephone on a basis comparableto the telephone access given to
hearing inmates. Tanney v. Boles, No. 04-71260, 400 F. Supp. 2d 1027 (E.D.
Mich. 2005). [N/R]
Doctor's alleged inadequate treatment of diabetic
prisoner's fractured hip, if true, only amounted, at most, to negligence, and
was insufficient to show either disability discrimination or a federal civil
rights violation. Medical treatment decisions, a federal appeals court states,
do not ordinarily fall within the scope of federal disability discrimination
statutes. Fitzgerald v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 03-5029, 403
F.2d 1134 (10th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
Detainee suffering from paranoid schizophrenia,
acute psychosis, impulse-control disorder, and "polysubstance abuse"
could not assert disability discrimination claims since his impairments,
because they could be corrected "or mitigated" by medication, did not
constitute disabilities. Jail personnel did not use excessive force in using
pepper spray to subdue him when he actively resisted his transfer to a hospital
for treatment, and did not violate his right to receive adequate medical
attention. Atwell v. Hart County, Kentucky, No. 03-6421, 122 Fed. Appx. 215
(6th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Dec]
Prisoner failed to provide adequate evidence that
he was denied access to prison grievance procedures on the basis of a
disability. While he claimed that he was unable to write with his right hand,
medical records merely showed him, at the time of the alleged deprivation, as
having a weakened grip in his right hand, not an inability to write. Further,
the grievance procedure allowed him to request assistance if he was unable to
write for any reason, and there was no evidence that he ever requested any such
assistance or ever requested a grievance form. Johnson v. Wackenhut Corrections
Corporation, No. 04-6245, 130 Fed. Appx. 947 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner with a gastrointestinal problem which
substantially limited his eating was entitled to pursue both his Eighth
Amendment and disability discrimination claims based on the failure of a prison
classification committee to recommend his transfer to another facility with an
acute care hospital despite orders from his doctor that he required such care.
Appeals court also finds that there were genuine issues of material fact as to
whether the prison failed to adequately accommodate the prisoner's eating
disability, barring summary judgment on claims for money damages under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. Scott v.
Garcia, No. CIV. 00-1849, 370 F. Supp. 2d 1056 (S.D. Cal. 2005). [N/R]
Blind inmate's disability discrimination damage claims
against the State of New Jersey, which did not involve a denial of access to
the courts, but rather denial of talking books, a talking watch, and a walking
cane, were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Cochran v. Pinchak, No. 02-1047,
401 F.3d 184 (3d Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Jun]
California prisoner complied with the requirement
that he exhaust available administrative remedies by filing provided form
describing his alleged disability of visual impairment and the accommodations
he requested. His failure to identify specific prison employees as allegedly
responsible for his grievances did not alter the result when the form supplied
by the state did not ask for particular individuals to be named. Butler v.
Adams, No. 04-15478, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 1898 (9th Cir. 2005) [2005
Warden was not entitled to summary judgment in
lawsuit alleging that he was deliberately indifferent to paraplegic prisoner's
medical needs and "inhumane housing conditions," or on disability
discrimination claims seeking injunctive relief. Disability discrimination
claims seeking money damages rejected. Miller v. King, No. 02-13348, 384 F.3d
1248 (11th Cir. 2004) [2004 JB Dec]
Prisoner was required under 42 U.S.C. Sec.
1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act to exhaust available
administrative remedies before pursuing disability discrimination claim under
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq., against
correctional officials for their alleged failure to treat his attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Chamberlain v. Overton, 326 F. Supp. 2d 811
(E.D. Mich. 2004). [N/R]
Federal trial court reinstates prisoner's
disability discrimination case against prison officials under the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. claiming that his
rights were violated when he was denied the services of an aide to take him to
the law library, school, recreation and the barbershop. The prisoner uses a wheelchair
because of severe osteoarthritis in his hips, and the trial court originally
dismissed the ADA claim on the basis of them being barred by sovereign immunity
under the Eleventh Amendment because his claim was against state officials. The
claim was reinstated on the basis of Tennessee v. Lane, #02-1667, 124 S. Ct.
1978 (2004), finding that Congress expressed its intent to abrogate Eleventh
Amendment immunity unequivocally when it wrote the ADA and that it had the
power to enact at least that portion of it that applies to cases implicating
the fundamental right of access to the courts. Flakes v. Frank, 322 F. Supp. 2d
981 (W.D. Wis. 2004). [N/R]
Prison officials were not deliberately
indifferent to insulin dependent prisoner's need for a proper diet in
prescribing a "self-monitored" diabetic diet in which the prisoner
was responsible for choosing the proper food, and he was given counseling and
education on how to do so. Additionally, substitutes for certain foods for
diabetic inmates were made available. Court also rules that the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132, and Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C.
Sec. 794, and their prohibition on "disability discrimination" did
not give the inmate a general federal cause of action for challenging the
medical care provided for his insulin dependent diabetes. These statutes
provide a basis for challenging discriminatory treatment or denial of benefits
on the basis of a disability, and do not provide a basis for challenging the
medical treatment of underlying disabilities. Carrion v. Wilkinson, 309 F.
Supp. 2d 1007 (N.D. Ohio 2004). [N/R]
U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may be sued
for damages under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for acts of
disability discrimination which allegedly interfere with the constitutional
right of access to the courts, and that such claims are not barred by Eleventh
Amendment immunity. Court does not provide a clear answer about whether similar
lawsuits against governmental employees for damages are proper in other
circumstances of alleged disability discrimination in the providing of public
services or programs. Tennessee v. Lane, #02-1667, 124 S. Ct. 1978 (2004).
[2004 JB Jul]
Prison officials' alleged refusal to treat
inmate's hepatitis B and C by medicating him with interferon did not constitute
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and was not disability
discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42
U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. Evidence was insufficient to show that the
plaintiff's hepatitis was severe enough to require such
"extraordinary" treatment under generally accepted medical standards,
and prisoner failed to show that he was denied the requested treatment solely
because of his disability of mental illness. Davidson v. Texas Dept. of Crim.
Justice, #03-41185, 91 Fed. Appx. 963 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Statute of limitations on prisoner's disability
discrimination claim based on his dismissal from prison job was tolled
(extended) under Pennsylvania state law during the time that a prison official
delayed filling out an administrative complaint form, even though the delay was
not intentional, but merely negligent. Limitations period was also extended
during the time that the prisoner pursued the exhaustion of his available
administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1997e(a). Howard v.
Mendez, 304 F. Supp. 2d 632 (M.D. Pa. 2004). [N/R]
The U.S. Department of Justice entered into a
settlement agreement with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services
regarding the provision of services required by the Americans with Disabilities
Act to juveniles with hearing disabilities. [N/R]
Prisoner failed to adequately show that he was
discriminated against on the basis of disability when prison officials denied
him use of a computer and took his calculator away. An affidavit by an
individual stating that he had a learning disability was insufficient to show
that he was disabled, and evidence showed that he was denied the use of the
computer only after being disciplined for inappropriate conduct. Additionally,
calculator was removed on the basis of a possible security risk. Damron v.
North Dakota Com'r of Corrections, 299 F. Supp. 2d 970 (D.N.D. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner's heart condition of Prinzmetal's angina
did not constitute a "disability" under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, ADA, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq. since it did not normally
limit his capacity to work. Denial of prisoner's request to transfer to prison
work camp, which would allow him to earn reductions in his sentence at a faster
rate, based on camp's inability to provide him with adequate medical care for
his condition, did not constitute disability discrimination. Charbonneau v.
Gorczyk, No. 01-312, 838 A.2d 117 (Vt. 2003). [N/R]
Refusal to allow a wheelchair bound prisoner to
present live witness testimony from inmates during a disciplinary hearing
violated his due process rights. Prisoner had a protected liberty interest
based on combination of his physical disability and his confinement for two
months in administrative segregation in a housing unit which was not designed
to accommodate disabled prisoners, and where he was denied access to his
wheelchair. Serrano v. Frances, No. 01-57036, 345 F.3d 1071 (9th Cir. 2003).[2004
Prisoner with an unstable right shoulder stated a
viable claim for disability discrimination by contending that correctional
personnel knew of medical instructions that he should not be handcuffed behind
his back, but ignored them, refusing to accommodate his injury by cuffing him
with his hands in front. Bane v. Virginia Department of Corrections, 267 F.
Supp. 2d 514 (W.D. Va. 2003). [2003 JB Dec]
Illinois court rules that sovereign immunity
barred a paraplegic inmate's claim seeking damages against prison warden for
alleged disability discrimination under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132. State did not consent to be sued by prisoners based on
ADA violations, and Congress had not abrogated the state's immunity under the
statute. Evans v. Page, No. 5-02-0126, 792 N.E.2d 805 (Ill. App. 5th Dist.
Mentally ill county jail inmates could not pursue
their claims for disability discrimination against the county and county
officials for alleged degrading treatment. They failed to show that they were
denied the benefits of any services, program or activity of the jail, or that
violent and self-destructive inmates who were mentally ill were treated any
differently than violent and self-destructive inmates not suffering from a
mental illness. Atkins v. County of Orange, 251 F. Supp. 2d 1225 (S.D.N.Y.
2003). [2003 JB Aug]
Despite the prisoner having a medical condition
that required him to only be assigned to a lower bunk, prison officials did not
engage in disability discrimination by disciplining him for his disobedience to
a housing order when the evidence showed that he refused his new cell
assignment not on the basis of his alleged disability, but because he refused
to be celled with a black inmate. Prisoner's broad claim that the housing of
inmates of different races together could cause a "prison riot" was
insufficient to show that prison officials were "deliberately
indifferent" to his safety. Hoover v. Keating, No. 02-5136, 59 Fed. Appx 288
(10th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Attorneys' fee award limitations contained in
Prison Litigation Reform Act did not apply to a fee award to prevailing
plaintiff prisoners under the attorneys' fee sections of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. Prevailing plaintiffs in
disability discrimination lawsuit against California correctional officials
were also entitled to fees for work their lawyers did in separate litigation
defending a judgment on a similar issue from another federal appeals court on
review before the U.S. Supreme Court. Armstrong v. Davis, #01-15779, 318 F.3d
965 (9th Cir. 2003). [2003 JB May]
County jail inmate failed to state a claim for
disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42
U.S.C. Sec. 12131 et seq. when she did not specify which programs, activities,
services, or benefits she was allegedly denied on the basis of her disability.
Smith v. Franklin County, 227 F. Supp. 2d 667 (E.D. Ky. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner's lawsuit against state officials for
disability discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42
U.S.C. Secs. 12131-12134 and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 failed to state a claim when
it merely asserted in a conclusory manner that he had been subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement and deprived of his federal rights, without any
specifics of how this was so or how any of the named defendants were personally
responsible for any such deprivations. Frazier v. Michigan, #02-1160, 41 Fed.
Appx. 762 (6th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Prisoner was not subjected to disability
discrimination by allegedly being denied a job assignment and participation in
the prison's educational program because of his migraine headaches. Prisoner
failed to show that he was disabled as that term is used in either the
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 or the
Rehabilitation Act., 29 U.S.C. Sec. 701. Court also holds that ADA and
Rehabilitation Act claims could not be pursued under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. Battle
v. Minnesota Dept. of Corrections, #02-1599, 40 Fed. Appx. 308 (8th Cir. 2002).
U.S. Supreme Court rules that punitive damages
may not be awarded in private lawsuits under provisions of the Americans With
Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act prohibiting disability
discrimination by public entities or the recipients of federal funding.
Decision overturns $1.2 million award against city for failure to provide
wheelchair restraints in a vehicle in which a wheelchair-bound detainee was transported
and injured. Barnes v. Gorman, #01-682, 122 S. Ct. 2097 (2002). [2002
In disability discrimination claim against correctional
defendants by prisoner suffering from diabetes and heart condition, prisoner
was not required to exhaust administrative remedies to pursue a claim under
Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. Sec.
12112(a)(2) covering access to governmental programs, but government officials
were not subject to individual liability under this section of the statute.
Further, injunctive and declaratory relief were inappropriate when prisoner had
been transferred from facility, so there was no longer an ongoing controversy
over his alleged denial of participation in work and educational programs.
Mitchell v. Massachusetts Department of Correction, 190 F. Supp. 2d 204 (D.
Mass. 2002). [N/R]
California prisoners could pursue claim against state
parole authority that it violated federal disability discrimination law to have
an "unwritten policy" of automatically denying parole to prisoners
with a history of drug abuse problems. Thompson v. Davis, #01-15091, 282 F.3d
780 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
Federal appeals court rules that Congress did not
properly abrogate states' Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in enacting
disability discrimination statutes concerning public services. Eleventh
Amendment immunity barred mentally ill prisoners' class action lawsuit against
Louisiana state correctional department for purported violations of the Americans
With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act. Reickenbacker v. Foster,
#00-31121, 274 F.3d 974 (5th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB May]
Hearing-impaired detainee could pursue his
disability discrimination complaint against warden of pretrial detainment
facility and county court system for failing to provide an interpreter and
other services to accommodate his disability. County court system could not
assert Eleventh Amendment immunity during its ongoing merger with the state
system. Chisolm v. McManimon, #00-1865, 275 F.3d 315 (3d Cir. 2001). [2002
Prison superintendent and deputy superintendent
did not act with deliberate indifference to disabled (wheelchair confined)
inmate's serious medical needs when the deputy approved recommendations for his
transfer to another facility where his medical concerns could be better
addressed and superintendent promptly responded to inmate's requests by asking
medical personnel to make an assessment. Navedo v. Maloney, 172 F. Supp. 2d 276
(D. Mass. 2001). [N/R]
The availability of relief for alleged disability
discrimination against wheelchair bound inmate under the Americans With
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29
U.S.C. Sec. 701 did not bar his claim for damages against individual prison
officials under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, despite the fact that the claims involved
the same facts of denial of access to handicapped shower facilities. Becker v.
Oregon, 170 F. Supp. 2d 1061 (D. Or. 2001). [N/R]
Burden on disabled plaintiff, wheelchair
confined, of transferring location of trial of his federal civil rights lawsuit
to a location more convenient for correctional defendants outweighed the
inconvenience to defendants of holding the proceedings in the courthouse where
the plaintiff originally filed it. The trial court therefore denied a change of
venue in the plaintiff's lawsuit over his medical treatment while incarcerated.
Nikac v. Pozzi, 172 F. Supp. 2d 414 (S.D.N.Y. 2001). [N/R]
U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the issue of
whether punitive damages may be awarded against a municipality in a lawsuit for
damages brought under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Section 202 of
the Americans With Disabilities Act. Barnes v. Gorman, #01-682, cert. granted, 122
S. Ct. 864 (2002). [2002 JB Mar]
States could not be sued in federal court for
money damages under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but that state prison
officials, in their official capacities, are not immune from liability under
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, another federal law prohibiting disability
discrimination, when they accepted federal funds. Key v. Grayson, No. CIV.
96-40166, 163 F. Supp. 2d 697 (E.D. Mich. 2001). [2002 JB Feb]
Paraplegic prisoner could pursue claim against
prison warden for failure to provide him with wheelchair-accessible
transportation to and from court hearings and with a wheelchair-accessible
scale to allow medical personnel to accurately weigh him. Claims concerning
denial of access to library, exercise, and recreational facilities, however,
were properly dismissed as lacking specific factual allegations. Evans v. Page,
No. 5-99-0216, 755 N.E.2d 105 (Ill. App. 2001). [2002 JB Jan]
Jury properly awarded $1.034 million in
compensatory damages to wheelchair-bound arrestee injured while being
transported in van that was not equipped with wheelchair restraints; appeals
court rejects trial court's setting aside of jury's punitive damages award of
$1.2 million, however, ruling that punitive damages are available in disability
discrimination cases for denial of public services. Gorman v. Easley, #00-1029,
257 F.3d 738 (8th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB Jan]
298:147 Prisoner with impaired hearing could
pursue injunctive remedies against state Department of Corrections under
federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on claim that it should have
provided a sign-language interpreter during disciplinary hearings and
administration of medical care. Randolph v. Rodgers, No. 00-1897, 253 F.3d 342
(8th Cir. 2001).
296:124 State prison ban on smoking, sale of
tobacco products, and possession of tobacco by inmates did not violate inmate's
equal protection rights or constitute "disability discrimination"
against smokers; federal court dismisses lawsuit as frivolous. Brashear v.
Simms, 138 F. Supp. 2d 693 (D. Md. 2001).
295:109 Prisoners claiming that excessive
exposure to second hand tobacco smoke constituted deliberate indifference to
their existing medical conditions and disability discrimination have to provide
individual proof; correctional officials who took some steps to restrict
smoking were entitled to qualified immunity from damages for allegedly exposing
prisoners to a risk of future harm. McIntyre v. Robinson, 126 F. Supp. 2d 394
(D. Md. 2000).
292:54 Federal appeals court orders "further
consideration" when trial judge's opinion granting summary judgment on a
wide variety of disability discrimination and other complaints by a
wheelchair-bound prisoner was so "sparse" as to fail to really
provide reasons for the decision. Beckford v. Portuondo, No. 00-0111, 234 F.3d
128 (2nd Cir. 2000).
292:54 Correctional officials did not act with
deliberate indifference towards prisoner with a missing leg when they promptly
arranged for him to obtain a prosthesis and offered him housing on the same
floor as the mess hall (which he declined). Parkinson v. Goord, 116 F. Supp. 2d
390 (W.D.N.Y. 2000).
[N/R] Provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform
Act prohibiting the recovery of mental and emotional distress
damages without a prior showing of physical
injury barred blind inmate's mental and emotional injuries for disability
discrimination. Cassidy v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections, No. 99-2674, 199 F.3d
374 (7th Cir. 2000).
286:149 Federal appeals court rules that lawsuits
against a state under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA),
prohibiting disability discrimination by any public entity, including claims
for injunctive relief, could not be pursued in federal court because of
Eleventh Amendment immunity. Walker v. Snyder, No. 98-3308, 213 F.3d 344 (7th
287:165 Prisoner's alleged "stage
fright," making it difficult for him to produce a urine sample for drug
testing while being observed, was not a disability for purposes of the
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA); court also finds that discipline of
prisoner for various misconduct charges was not retaliatory. Oyague v. State of
New York, #98 Civ. 6721 (TPG), 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12426 (S.D.N.Y.).
278:20 Barring a prisoner from prison's cooking
classes because he would not submit to HIV testing did not constitute
disability discrimination. Murdock v. Washington, #98-2419, 193 F.3d 510 (7th
278:24 New Jersey reaches wide-ranging $16
million settlement in lawsuit over allegedly inadequate treatment of
mentally-ill prisoners and disability discrimination against them; plaintiffs'
attorneys to receive $1.22 million in attorneys' fees; disciplinary policies to
take prisoners' mental illness into account; all new prisoners to receive
mental health assessment within 72 hours. D.M. v. Terhune, 67 F. Supp. 2d 401
278:26 Department's action of purchasing patrol
wagons without safety nets and using them to transport detainees did not
constitute deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm; no
federal civil rights liability for injuries detainee suffered when thrown about
by vehicle motions after being placed in wagon with his hands cuffed behind his
back. Spencer v. Knapheide Truck Equipment Co., #98-3717, 183 F.3d 902 (8th
286:150 Failure to provide double amputee with a
wheelchair during his incarceration in a county jail did not violate the Eighth
Amendment since jail corridors were too narrow for wheelchair access and there
were legitimate security concerns about the presence of a wheelchair in the
general population; prisoner did, however, state possible claims for violation
of the Eighth Amendment and disability discrimination statutes based on alleged
"deliberate indifference" to his serious medical needs. Schmidt v.
Odell, 64 F. Supp. 2d 1014 (D. Kan. 1999).
273:131 U.S. Supreme Court, in three decisions,
narrowly interprets federal disability discrimination statute; plaintiff
employees whose disabilities may be corrected by medication or devices such as
eyeglasses will generally not be disabled persons entitled to protection
against employment discrimination. Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., #97-
1992, 119 S. Ct. 2133 (1999); Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., #97-1943, 119
S. Ct. 2139 (1999); Albertsons, Inc. v. Kirkingburg, #98-591, 119 S. Ct. 2162
275:163 Federal appeals court upholds
constitutionality of application of ADA and Rehabilitation Act to state
prisons, finds that Justice Department regulations implementing these laws were
proper, and rules that state could not assert Eleventh Amendment sovereign
immunity as a defense to a federal disability discrimination lawsuit by
prisoners. Amos v. Maryland Dept. of Public Safety & Correctional Services,
#96-7091, 178 F.3d 212 (4th Cir. 1999).
260:115 Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rules that
the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to state prisons, based on
"unambiguous" text of statute; Court does not address question of whether
applying ADA to state prisons was a constitutional exercise of authority by
Congress; ruling expected to result in more ADA lawsuits by prisoners. Penn.
Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, No. 97-634, 118 S.Ct. 1952 (1998).
» » Editor's Note:
* In Armstrong v. Wilson, 124 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir.
1997), a federal appeals court upheld a trial court's injunctive order that
California officials develop a plan for compliance with the ADA and the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the state prison system.
* In Love v. Westville Correctional Center, 103
F.3d 558 (7th Cir. 1996), the appeals court upheld an award of $30,948 in
damages under the ADA to a quadriplegic inmate who claimed he was denied access
to prison recreational, work, educational, and rehabilitative programs because
of his disability; the prisoner was also awarded $39,536.75 in attorneys' fees.
* In Duffy v. Riveland, 98 F.3d 447 (9th Cir.
1996), the court found that a prisoner could sue correctional officials under
the ADA for alleged failure to provide him with a qualified sign language
interpreter for disciplinary and classification hearings.
* In Crawford v. Indiana Dept. of Corrections,
115 F.3d 481 (7th Cir. 1997), the court ruled that a blind inmate could pursue
his claim under the ADA that he was excluded from prison educational programs
and denied access to the library and dining hall because of his disability.
* In an ADA suit brought in state court, the
judge refused to dismiss a suit, brought by a paraplegic inmate against a
sheriff and others, for transporting him in a van that was not wheelchair
accessible. Davis v. Mak, 1997 WL 133410 (Conn. Super. 1997).
266:20 Two wheelchair-bound paraplegic inmates
placed in solitary confinement, where they were unable to reach their food
trays or use the toilet for thirty-two hours were properly awarded $2,000 each
for cruel and unusual punishment. Simmons v. Cook, #97-2324, 154 F.3d 805 (8th
266:20 Disabled prisoner's complaint that he was
unable to bathe for over two months while in lockdown stated claim for cruel
and unusual punishment. Bradley v. Puckett, #98-60102, 157 F.3d 1022 (5th Cir.
267:36 Pretrial detainee with a leg cast and
crutches stated claim for violation of his Eighth Amendment constitutional
rights based on assertion that county jail failed to provide him with
accessible shower facilities or assistance in the shower. Frost v. Agnos,
#94-15640 & # 96-17332, 152 F.3d 1124 (9th Cir. 1998).
268:62 Correctional facility which disclosed
prisoner's positive hepatitis C test results to work-release employer,
resulting in end of prisoner's work assignment, did not engaged in disability
employment discrimination under Iowa law, since it was not the prisoner's
employer. Zepeda v. Fort Des Moines Men's Corr. Fac., 586 N.W.2d 364 (Iowa
269:68 Difficulties that wheelchair-confined
detainee experienced during his two days of confinement in jail did not amount
to deliberate indifference to his serious needs. Tesch v. Co. of Green Lake,
#97-3930, 157 F.3d 465 (7th Cir. 1998).
261:131 Deaf arrestee, denied access to
Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) to make phone call for bail money,
stated claims under Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation
Act for disability discrimination; suit claimed that failure to provide access
resulted in delay in release of arrestee. Hanson v. Sangamon Co. Sheriff's
Dept., 991 F.Supp. 1059 (C.D. Ill. 1998).
263:164 Asymptomatic HIV infection qualifies as a
disability for purposes of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Bragdon
v. Abbott, #97-156, 118 S.Ct. 2196 (1998).
254:19 Federal appeals court rules that Americans
With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act apply to state prisons; upholds
trial court's injunctive order that California officials develop plan for
compliance with the statutes in state prison system. Armstrong v. Wilson, 124
F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 1997).
256:53 Federal appeals court rules that Americans
With Disabilities Act applies to state prisons and that disabled prisoners can
be "qualified" individuals for participation in prison program;
reinstates disability discrimination claim by prisoner excluded from "boot
camp" program because of history of hypertension. Yeskey v. Com. of Pa.
Dept. of Corrections, 118 F.3d 168 (3rd Cir. 1997).
[N/R] Disabled prisoner brought lawsuit seeking
total ban on prison smoking; trial court denies injunction, but orders further
proceedings on issue of whether state had a duty to supply wheelchair accessible
vans to transport disabled inmates. Candelaria v. Greifinger, 1997 U.S. Dist.
Lexis 4616 (N.D.N.Y.) and 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 4617 (N.D.N.Y.). See also
Candelaria v. Greifinger, 1997 U.S. Dist. Lexis 16146 (N.D.N.Y.), denying a
motion by another disabled inmate to intervene in the case.
251:164 Prisoner in infirmary cell was not
entitled, under the Americans With Disabilities Act, to his own personal cable
television hookup there; federal appeals court overturns trial court order that
prisoner be given such hookup because he frequently lost channel selection
disputes with other infirmary inmates in communal television watching room.
Aswegan v. Bruhl, 113 F.3d 109 (8th Cir. 1997), rehearing denied, 1997 U.S.
App. Lexis 15092 (June 18, 1997).
248:126 Hearing impaired inmate was not
"similarly situated" to other inmates for purposes of using a
standard telephone, federal appeals court rules, so that failure to provide him
with a special telephone adapted for his disability was not a violation of equal
protection of law. Hansen v. Rimel, 104 F.3d 189 (8th Cir. 1997).
249:132 Federal appeals court rules that
Americans With Disabilities Act is applicable to disability discrimination
claim by prisoner against state correctional facility; blind inmate can pursue
his claim that he was excluded from prison educational programs and denied
access to library and dining hall because of disability. Crawford v. Indiana
Dept. of Corrections, 115 F.3d 481, 1997 U.S. App. Lexis 12673 (7th Cir. June
2, 1997). » Editor's Note: In Love v. Westville Correctional Center, 103 F.3d
558 (7th Cir. 1996), it upheld a $31,000 award under the Americans With
Disabilities Act to a quadriplegic inmate who claimed he was subjected to
disability discrimination, but it did not squarely rule on the issue of whether
the ADA applied to prisons, since the defendant in that case did not pursue the
issue. Other federal appeals courts that have addressed the issue have split on
whether the ADA applies to the prison setting. See White v. Colorado, 82 F.3d
364 (10th Cir. 1996) (neither the ADA nor the Rehabilitation Act applies to
prison employment), Torcasio v. Murray, 57 F.3d 1340 (4th Cir. 1995), cert.
denied, 116 S.Ct. 772 (1996) (ADA's applicability to prisons is not clearly
established, and strongly hinting that it is inapplicable), and Duffy v.
Riveland, 98 F.3d 447 (9th Cir. 1996) (both ADA and Rehabilitation Act
applicable to prisons).
241:3 Americans With Disabilities Act did not
provide a remedy for what amounted to an allegation of medical malpractice by a
paraplegic prisoner; trial court improperly granted summary judgment to
defendant prison officials on Eighth Amendment claim, however, when
unrepresented inmate was not warned of consequences of failure to present evidence
of his own in opposition to evidence officials presented in support of motion
for summary judgment. Bryant v. Madigan, 84 F.3d 246, rehearing denied 91 F.3d
994 (7th Cir. 1996).
[N/R] Damage award of $25,000 to quadriplegic
former inmate overturned; state had responsibility to provide reasonable
medical care but not a duty to develop an individual treatment plan for
prisoner's disabling condition. State of Maryland v. Johnson, 670 A.2d 1612
(Md. App. 1996).
[N/R] Americans With Disabilities Act and
Rehabilitation Act applied to state correctional facilities; genuine issues of
fact were present as to whether correctional nurses failed to provide bilateral
amputee parole violator in county jail with materials needed to maintain the
stumps of his amputated legs in a condition that would accept prosthetic
devices. Kaufman v. Carter, 952 F.Supp. 520 (W.D. Mich. 1996).
229:5 Update: Federal appeals court rules that it
is not clearly established that Rehabilitation Act and Americans With
Disabilities Act apply to state prisoners and finds prison officials entitled
to qualified immunity on allegations that they failed to reasonably accommodate
alleged disability of morbidly obese prisoner. Torcasio v. Murray, 57 F.3d 1340
(4th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 772 (1996).
243:36 California federal trial judge, in class
action disability discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of disabled prison
inmates, rules that Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to prisoners;
compliance cost estimated at over $50 million; appeal anticipated. Armstrong v.
Wilson, 942 F.Supp. 1252, (N.D. Cal. 1996). » Editor's Note: For court
decisions rejecting the application of the ADA to prison circumstances, see
Little v. Lycoming Co., 912 F.Supp. 809 (M.D. Pa. 1996), 5 AD Cases (BNA) 1359,
1996 U.S. Dist. Lexis 1757; Staples v. Va. Dept. of Corrections, 904 F.Supp.
487, 5 AD Cases (BNA) 1349, 1995 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19970 (E.D. Va.); White v.
Colorado, 82 F.3d 364, 5 AD Cases (BNA) 1 631, 1996 U.S. App. Lexis 9281 (10th
Cir); Lancaster v. Monroe Co. Alabama, 5 AD Cases (BNA) 1307 (S.D. Ala 1996);
and Pierce v. King, 918 F.Supp. 932 (E.D.N.C. 1996) (ADA did not create a cause
of action for state inmates displeased with prison work assignments). In
Torcasio v. Murray, 57 F.3d 1340 (4th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 772
(1996), the court did not rule on whether the ADA and Rehabilitation Act apply
to state prisons, but strongly intimated that they do not, ruling that, for
purposes of qualified immunity, it was not clearly established that they do
A prior California federal trial court decision,
Bullock v. Gomez, 929 F.Supp. 1299 (C.D. Cal. 1996) also held that the ADA and
Rehabilitation Act apply to state correctional facilities, in a case in which
an HIV-positive inmate and his spouse claimed that refusal to allow overnight
visits violated both statutes, and the court declined to grant the defendants
summary judgment. Also see Niece v. Fitzner, 922 F.Supp. 1208 (E.D. Mich.
1996), in which the applicability of the ADA to claims by a prisoner and his
deaf fiance was evidently not questioned by the defendants and in which the
court ruled that the prisoner had standing under the ADA to assert his claim
that he was discriminated against in the provision of telephone services based
on his association with his deaf fiance. In Inmates of the Allegheny Co. Jail
v. Wecht, 93 F.3d 1124 (3rd Cir. 1996) 1996 U.S. App. Lexis 21555, vacated and
rehearing en banc granted, 1996 U.S. App. Lexis 24921 (3rd Cir.) the court ruled
that the language of both the Rehabilitation Act and of the ADA clearly
indicates that they cover all aspects of state and local government, including
correctional facilities. This decision was cited in the court's ruling in
Armstrong v. Wilson, reported above, but was vacated on September 20, 1996, the
same date that Armstrong was decided, after the full 3rd Circuit Court of
Appeals granted a rehearing en banc.
246:83 Federal trial court rules that Americans
With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act, federal statutes prohibiting
disability discrimination, apply to state prisons; further holds that Congress
abrogated states' Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court in
enacting these statutes. Niece v. Fitzner, 941 F.Supp. 1497 (E.D. Mich. 1996).
247:102 Prisoner could sue correctional officials
for alleged failure to provide him with qualified sign language interpreter for
disciplinary and classification hearings; federal appeals court rules, however,
that formal certification of interpreter was not required, as a matter of law,
under federal disability discrimination law. Duffy v. Riveland, 98 F.3d 447,
1996 U.S. App. Lexis 26529 (9th Cir. 1996).
248:116 Federal appeals court upholds award of
$30,948 in damages under the Americans With Disabilities Act to quadriplegic
inmate denied access to prison recreational, work, educational, and
rehabilitative programs because of his disability; prisoner also awarded
$39,536.75 in attorneys' fees. Love v. Westville Correctional Center, 103 F.3d
558 (7th Cir. 1996).
237:133 Prison's failure to establish formal
Braille program for blind inmates did not violate their rights under the
Americans With Disabilities Act; trial court did not abuse its discretion in
failing to appoint counsel for blind inmate in disability discrimination
lawsuit. Smith v. Ohio Department of Rehab. & Corr., 661 N.E.2d 771 (Ohio
App. 1995). [Cross- reference: Access to Courts/Legal Info].
219:36 Four hundred and sixty pound prisoner
stated claim for cruel and unusual punishment based on inadequacy of toilet
facilities for his weight and size; court rules that federal disability
discrimination statutes apply to state prisoners and that prisoner stated
several other viable claims for such discrimination. Torcasio v. Murray, 862
F.Supp. 1482 (E.D.Va. 1994).
225:131 Sheriff and sheriff's assistant were
entitled to qualified immunity in suit alleging that they were deliberately
indifferent to needs of obese disabled prisoner in 1988. Parsons v. Wright, 649
A.2d 1108 (Me. 1994).
225:131 Prison officials were entitled to
qualified immunity in blind prisoner's disability discrimination lawsuit
alleging that they denied him equal access to vocational training programs
because of his blindness when he neither applied for existing programs nor
requested accommodation in them. Lue v. Moore, 43 F.3d 1203 (8th Cir. 1994).
Jail officials were not entitled to qualified
immunity in suit broght by wheelchair confined inmate for failure to reasonably
accomodate his disability; federal court rules that inmate need not exhaust
administrative remedies before filing suit under Americans With Disabilities
Act. Noland v. Wheatley, 835 F.Supp. 476 (N.D. Ind. 1993).
Wheelchair-bound inmates' equal protection rights
were not violated by prison officials refusal to install cable- television in
their cells, even if other inmates had been allowed in-cell cable. More v.
Farrier, 984 F.2d 269 (8th Cir. 1993).
Jail officials were not entitled to qualified
immunity in suit brought by wheelchair confined inmate for failure to
reasonably accommodate his disability; federal court rules that inmate need not
exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit under Americans with
Disabilities Act. Noland v. Wheatley, 835 F.Supp. 476 (N.D. Ind. 1993).
Deaf, mute and vision impaired inmate had
constitutional right to qualified sign language interpreter during disciplinary
procedure. Bonner v. Arizona Dept. of Corrections, 714 F.Supp. 420 (D. Ariz.
Federal appeals court orders hearing on whether
prison's failure to provide deaf inmate with sign language interpreter violated
federal law. Bonner v. Lewis, 857 F.2d 559 (9th Cir. 1988).
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